Sports

Lady Chargers Enter Playoffs with Momentum

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photo by Vanessa Fournier
Craftsbury softball players Savanah Boyce (left), Ade Gillespie (center) and Ella Gillespie (right) walk off Dustan field after a recent game.

by Ken Brown

CRAFTSBURY – The Craftsbury Academy (CA) varsity softball team had a pair of huge wins over Division III BFA-Fairfax and Division II Lamoille last week and will hit the postseason running this week with three wins in their last four games.

Ella Gillespie’s walk-off single capped off three runs in the bottom of the seventh for CA in a thrilling come-from-behind 14-13 home win over BFA-Fairfax last Monday. Jessalynn Gravel went 2-3 at the plate, including a double and executed a crucial late game double play to stamp out a BFA rally. Ade Gillespie drove in three runs for CA and Savannah Boyce earned the complete game win in the circle, striking out eight Lady Bullets. Melissa Hall led BFA-Fairfax with a 2-2 effort, Peyton Niles had an RBI double, and Abigail Langlois added an RBI single. Anna Villeneuve suffered the loss, striking out eight over six plus innings, as the Lady Bullets fell to 8-6 on the season.

“What a great back-and-forth game against a very good team and the girls kept battling, had each other’s backs, and never gave up. It was a great way to start the week, setting the tone and giving the entire team positive vibes,” said head coach Ashley Gravel.

Richford swept the season series from the Lady Chargers on Tuesday night with a dominate 20-4 road win. Talia McCray earned the win and Kyrielle led the Lady Rocket offense for their thirteenth win of the season and will enter the division IV tournament as the No. 2 seed. Jessalynn Gravel, Ella Gillespie, Arian VanDyk, Alexis VanDyk, and Alana Ulrich were honored in their last home game on senior night. Savannah Boyce took the loss in the circle for CA.

“Richford is a tough match-up for us, they are a good squad, and are definitely one of the teams to beat in the division. It was an emotional night for our seniors and those five girls helped restart this program here at CA as eighth graders with me back in 2019. Having those high emotions on and off the field that night I’m sure played into our focus against a tough team like that,” said Gravel.

The Lady Chargers capped off their impressive week with a comeback for the ages on Friday, erasing a 10-run first inning deficit to edge Lamoille on the road 21-19. The Lady Lancers jumped out to a quick 10-0 lead after one inning, before CA strung together several two out rallies to make it 13-12 after four innings. CA executed one last late rally to break an 18-18 tie to escape with the improbable win. Lamoille finished up the regular season at 1-13.

“This is the team we’ve been building towards all season and this is the kind of ball these girls are capable of playing. It was an emotional week with some hard-fought wins and Savannah was a workhorse for us pitching all three games. We are definitely heading into the postseason with some momentum and we are looking forward to bringing these positive vibes into the tournament,” said Gravel.

The Lady Chargers will enter the Division IV playoffs as the ninth seed and traveled to Dorset to take on Long Trail on Tuesday. If they advance, they will travel to top seeded West Rutland on Friday in a quarterfinal match-up.

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